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My guru, guide, and mother is Kimberlee Gene Addleman. 

Talk about a woman of imperishable will and indestructible faith. She never ceases to amaze me in her character and in her response to the questions life asks. While she only briefly pursued college due to the responsibilities of motherhood, she has been a great student of life and faith in God. 

Resilience would be a good word to describe Kim Addleman. When my father left our home for rehab, she was on her own with a house of four children and a full-time job. Shortly after my father came out of rehab, he overdosed on heroin and lost his life. What was meant to destroy my mother instead led her toward recovery in a group known as Al-Anon.

The theme song I chose to describe my mother is Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.” Her courage to take on the roles usually divided between a husband and wife fill me with pride and a deep sense of gratitude. 

In her eyes, and in her own words: “My greatest achievements in life have been to raise my children.” 

“God + Me = the Dream Team” is her motto. Given the hurdles she had to overcome, she deserves the title of woman of the year.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

C.R. Addleman is a writer incarcerated at Centinela State Prison in California.